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Road to recovery

Bachy Solentanche is using one of its biggest rigs on a road improvement job in the West Midlands. NCE reports.

Piling work to create a new interchange on a busy stretch of the A41 involves the careful avoidance of the thousands of cars that speed past the site each day.

Bachy Soletanche has started the second phase of its £2.5M work on a grade separated junction on the A41 in West Bromwich for a Balfour Beatty/Birse joint venture.

The project consists of heavy-duty continuous flight auger (CFA) and cased CFA secant piling.

Grade separated interchange

The introduction of the £24M grade separated interchange is designed to smooth traffic flow along the busy A41 trunk road, which runs close to the M5, north-east of the town centre.

The town itself is undergoing millions of pounds worth of redevelopment, and the introduction of a new Tesco supermarket close by means that traffic in the area is set to increase.

The existing roundabout is to be converted and realigned via the construction of an underpass, two over-road bridges and a footway bridge.

Over Christmas, the site was prepared for piling equipment to move away from a previous position on the site and into place for the next round of work, whilst working round the busy holiday traffic.

The hard/hard and hard/firm secant CFA piles, which are 600mm, 750mm and 900mm diameter and up to 18.5m deep, were designed by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council’s engineer URS Scott Wilson, and include reinforced primary (female) piles in the new overbridges wing walls.

“This is our biggest job in the Midlands at the moment and it’s crucial we stick to the site’s programme”

Paul Hodgson, Bachy Soletanche


Bachy Soletanche proposed the use of a cased CFA secant piling solution as an alternative to conventional large diameter rotary piles to improve production and equal verticality.

Due to the 18.5m pile depth Bachy Soletanche’s biggest rig, a BG40, is being used for the cased CFA secant piles with the remaining shorter, smaller diameter piles being installed by a CM70 rig.

New underpass

Once complete, the retaining walls will form the new underpass beneath the newly aligned roundabout so as to improve traffic flow on the A41.

The work is being carried out in line with strict health and safety regulations and the JV is working hard to limit the disruption to the travelling public and manage traffic flow.

Bachy Soletanche business development manager Paul Hodgson says: “This is our biggest job in the Midlands at the moment and it’s crucial we stick to the site’s programme, so as little disruption to commuters occurs as possible.

“Different rigs will be used for the various stages - we’re running to plan at the moment and are aiming to have finished the piling by early February.”

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